Capel, Henry (DNB00)

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CAPEL, Sir HENRY, Lord Capel of Tewkesbury (d. 1696), lord-lieutenant of Ireland, was the second son of Arthur, lord Capel of Hadham [q. v.], by Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Sir Charles Morrison of Cashiobury, Hertfordshire. He was created K.B. at the coronation of Charles II, and appointed first commissioner of the admiralty 25 April 1679. He was M.P. for Tewkesbury 1660–81 and for Cockermouth 1689–90 and 1690–2. When the king resolved to pass the winter of 1680 without a parliament, Capel and three other councillors desired to be excused from further attendance (Temple, Memoirs, ii. 59). In November following Capel was one of the strongest supporters in the commons of the Exclusion Bill (Burnet, Own Times, ed. 1838, p. 319). Having after the accession of William been appointed a lord of the treasury, he was among the most zealous of those who endeavoured to compass the overthrow of Halifax (Clarendon, Letters on the Affairs of the Time, ii. 200). He was left out of the new treasury following the general election in 1690, and did not join the treasury board again. On 1 March 1691–2 he was created Lord Capel of Tewkesbury. When his kinsman, the Earl of Clarendon, was named in the privy council as suspected of treason, he endeavoured to prevent his arrest, but finally signed the warrant along with the other members of the council. On account of the prevailing disorders in Ireland in 1693, Lord Sydney, the lord deputy, who was supposed to favour the Irish too much, was recalled, and the government placed in the hands of three lords justices, of whom Capel had the chief influence with the government. As a strong enemy of Roman catholicism it was not to be supposed that he would show much favour to the native Irish, while the other two lords justices were more disposed to a mild and compromising policy. The English thereupon made representations that he should be installed lord deputy, he undertaking to manage a parliament, so as to obtain the passing of the measures the king desired. He was accordingly declared lord deputy in May 1695, and by the parliament which he then called the supplies asked for were granted, the proceedings of the parliament of James II were annulled, and the great act of settlement was confirmed. At the instance of Capel a motion was made to impeach the lord chancellor, Porter, for having abused his position to thrust catholics into commissions of the peace, and to favour them in their suits with protestants, but the motion was lost by a majority of two to one. Capel died at Dublin 14 May 1696. By his wife, Dorothy, daughter of Sir Richard Bennet of Kew, Surrey, he left no issue. Capel, before he went to Ireland, resided in ‘an old timber house’ at Kew, where he was frequently visited by Evelyn, who states that in his garden house he had ‘the choicest fruit of any plantation in England.’

[Collins's Peerage (ed. 1812), iii. 480; Luttrell's Diary, i. 266, 519, 528, ii. 22, 369, 373, iii. 26, 30, 37, 101, 119, 279, 319, 339, 457, 468, 482, 489, 491, 497, 503, iv. 57, 61, 63; Sir William Temple's Memoirs, ii. 38, 59, 93; Burnet's Own Times (ed. 1838), pp. 317, 319, 596, 618–619; Evelyn's Diary; Oldmixon's History of England; Ralph's History of England; Froude's English in Ireland, i. 256–8, 263, 267; Macaulay's History of England.]

T. F. H.